Hairstyles in the 1860s were usually meant to make the face look round and symmetrical. Queen Victoria parted her hair in the center and wore buns and curls in the back, and the rest of the western world followed suit.

A lady's hair was always smooth and confined. Even curls generally were pinned into place to keep them smooth. Hair was never worn loose and unbound except in bed.

When a lady went out during the day, she wore a bonnet or (occasionally in certain situations) a hat. The hair during the day was styled to accommodate this.

Evening hairstyles could include flowers, feathers, ribbons, and all kinds of lovely headdresses. Hairstyles were much more elaborate for evening wear.

Both daytime and evening hairstyles could make use of "rats" and false hair. Ladies' catalogs often included advertisements for these items.

A simple, common way to fix your hair that allows for many variations was used in the 1860s. The front is parted off and divided evenly down the center. The back is likewise divided down the center. The back is put up into a bun that can be smooth or consist of braids from the back sections. Then the front sections are braided or rolled back and twisted around the bun.

This hairstyle works well with a net, a bonnet or a cap. Or it can be worn plain for around the house.

Some examples:

Here is a model with this hairstyle, showing how it works with a net, bonnet or cap. 

Evening hairstyles were much more creative. While still starting with a middle part and aiming for a symmetrical look, it was appropriate to have elaborate curls, braids and buns.

Flowers, feathers, ribbons, and lace were all used in evening headdresses.